"Our call for bandh today to protest against the government policies was successful as nearly 90 per cent bullion traders in Mumbai, Maharashtra and Kolkata observed bandh," IBJA president Mohit Kamboj told PTI.
Except big retailers, almost all wholesalers and manufacturers joined the strike, he said. IBJA called for a strike today to protest "harassment" of bullion dealers and jewellers by various government agencies. "This harassment has impacted the overall morale of the gems and jewellery business very badly," he said.
The country's gold jewellery exports slipped by 44.42 per cent in rupee term at Rs 33,178 crore during April 13 to January 14 period following curbs imposed by the government on the trade.
The country exported gold jewellery worth Rs 61,843 crore in the corresponding period April 2012 to January 2013.
The government is fighting to reduce its current account deficit, has brought in measures to restrict imports of gold, its second-biggest import item by value after oil.
"We urge the government to keep import duties on gold low to eliminate smuggling and immediately remove the 80:20 rule while allowing consignment gold imports to ensure fair open market controlled business. We also urge them to keep
import duties on ready finished imports moderately high to protect Indian industry," he said.
"Unfair norms have been a matter of concern for all the jewellers across India. Many policies implemented by the government have been very disappointing and demoralising for the gold jewellery exporters. Recently, many such cases of
harassment have been reported not only from customs at the airport, but even from jeweller's establishments as well," IBJA said.
According to Kamboj, there is no gold available for exporters in the current scenario due to the government policies.